Every parent knows the importance of stimulating kids' little brains. Their cognitive and personality development are a direct response to the level of positive stimulation they get, and obviously the parents and daycare providers are key.
I try to respond whenever I can to Lukas' attempts to communicate, usually by replying to his sounds, making eye contact, or showing a reaction. I think it helps him understand the flow of communication, and gives him a lot of self-confidence.
Videos are a BIG No No at home. The very few times he was exposed to a cartoon on TV, or The Muppet Show (which both my husband and I love to watch!), he got into a very passive mode. Lukas wouldn't even blink! At this stage in his life, working with toys and books that make him use his imagination and develop his creativity should be the main entertainment.
We have also exposed Lukas to a lot of interaction with other people and cultures. Even before his first birthday, Lukas' passport had already been stamped in Australia and Brazil, and within a couple of months we are crossing the Atlantic again. Contrary to many people's opinion, we thought that those trips would contribute to a future worldly attitude, turning him into a tolerant and flexible young man. Hopefully it will fire up a lifetime curiosity about other cultures.
Yes, it is all very difficult to manage with our crazy schedules. However, Lukas is our number one project and, in our point of view, daily positive reinforcements are the way to go for successful results.